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UPDATED: 8/18/2017

WONDERFUL-TOYSEssential Tools for the Digitally Savvy Small Business Owner

“Where does he get all those wonderful toys”
– Joker (Batman, 1989)

Seth and I get asked all the time about what’s ‘under the hood’ at Small Biz Triage. Soooo, in the spirit of transparency, here’s our current toolkit, some freebies and some we happily pay for.


Email
* GSuite – $5/user/month
Storage
* Google Drive – aka our collective digital consciousness. $9.99 / month for 1TB package.
* Dropbox – slowly phasing this out, but for clients with image-heavy needs, it’s been helpful. $9.99/month.
Project & Task Management
* Zoho Projects – doesn’t quite check off all the boxes we’d wish for in a project management tool, but is the closest we’ve found without being over-featured.
CRM / Sales Tools
* Pipedrive – $25/month/user – Awesome as a standalone CRM, but soon to be replaced in full by Accello
Computers & Hardware
* Windows 10 – desktop and laptop
* Acer 14 Chromebook
* Android Phone and now a jailbroken iPhone
* Logitech ClearChat Comfort USB Headset
* A cheap printer
Accounting
* Freshbooks – best small biz accounting platform ever (for now)… $29.95 / month. Seth and I even have non-business accounts to manage our personal finances. The sad news is that we’re not terribly psyched about the new interface, so about the time they force us to switch our biz account over is about the time this may be transferred to the “this sucks now” heap. We are working on figuring how Zoho can fully replace the need for freshbooks.
Website (CMS, Plugins, etc…)
CMS: WordPress
THEMES: Divi Builder ($89/year)
PLUGINS:
* WooCommerce
* WooCommerce Subscriptions ($200/year)
* WooCommerce Authorize.net CIM ($29/year)
* WooCommerce Freshbooks Integration ($79/year)
* WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration – Free
* WooCommerce Order Status Control ($29/year)
* WooCommerce Order Status Manager ($29/year)
* Disable Comments – will disable comments site-wide … an oddly difficult task to do manually with older posts – free
* MonsterInsights – free (replaces Google Analytics by Yoast)
* Gravity Forms ($199/year) – best MailChimp <> WordPress integration on the market, hands-down
* SendGrid for WordPress – free plugin, $79/year for the dedicated IP
* Yoast SEO – free
Google Chrome Extensions
* AdBlock – Free
* Awesome Screenshot ($19.99/year)
* Facebook Pixel Helper from LeadsBridge – Free
* Inbox When Ready for Gmail – Free
* LastPass ($12/user/year x 5 users)
* RescueTime ($72/year)
* Timer – Free
* Uberconference ($15/user/month x 5 users)
* Wappalyzer- Free
* ColorZilla – free
Services (human and digital)
Iubenda – a slick privacy policy generator – $27 / year
* ScheduleOnce – see it in action here. This tool has tripled our rate of emails >>> meetings. $19/month/user (we have 6 users)
* Wells Fargo for banking
* FattMerchant for merchant services – $79/month + fees
* Authorize.net for online payment processing – $29/month
* Audible.com – cheaper than an MBA, and probably more effective. Our road-tripping addictions are fueled by some great audio books (see them on our Annual Reading List). $14.95/month
* Upwork.com freelancers … we’ve paid $6 – $66/hr for all sorts of things there.
* Fiverr – quick and dirty logos
* Dialpad – $49/month – 2-lines
* RocketLawyer – $59.95/month
* Business Insurance – The Hartford
Website Hosting
* WP Engine – if your business relies on the uptime and speed of your WordPress sites, than this is a must have. A bit costly, however, the site speed bump (which is great for SEO), killer automated backup setup, and one-click staging server creation makes it worth it. $29/month/site.
* GoDaddy – for parking our domains, typically $14.99/domain/year
* CloudFlare – DNS Management – free
Software
* FileZilla – best FTP client out there – free
* Office 365 – $9.99/month for the team – only use it for Word and Excel, and rarely. Still handy to have in specific situations. Otherwise, Libre Office is a fine and free substitute.
* Google Chrome – lean, fast-loading and awesome extensions – free
* GIMP – poor man’s Photoshop. Steep learning curve, but handles basic – free
* EditPad Lite – best text editor out there. And free.
* XnView – slick tool for managing high-volume, monotonous image editing tasks – free
Notable Exclusions … what we don’t use (anymore)
* Join.me
* Gusto
* Zenefits


Our Favorites of 2017

1) ScheduleOnce – this tool has transformed our business, eliminating email ping pong trying to nail down a meeting time. And its joint availability feature is clutch. We’ve been using this service for years now and they have never given us any reason to look for a replacement.
2) WP Engine – for WordPress super users, this will be a breath of fresh air. Hosting optimized for WordPress, slick back-up setup and a ridiculously easy staging server system.
3) DiviMakes everyone look good, even people who have no business messing around with code.
4) Google Drive – Still crazy reliable after all these years.
5) Corey the Goddamn Canadian – Not technically a “tool”, more like a maniac mechanic, and easily a 2017 top five fave to the rest of us.


That’s it for now. We’ll update this occasionally as we upgrade and swap out tools.
For more of our toolkit, check out our updated Essential Reading List for the Small Biz Owner
 
 

* Yes, there’s a handful of affiliate links buried above. These are products we actually buy.